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Depman was deprecated on 25 February 2015

We recommend using godep instead:

Dependency management helper for Golang packages. Supports versioned dependencies using standard Golang imports.



go get
depman help


Nicholas Capo


Copyright 2013-2014 Vubeology, Inc. Released under the MIT License (see LICENSE).


  • Simple json configuration file

  • Recursive installs

  • Uses go get when possible

  • Supports Git, Mercurial, and Bazaar

  • Automatic installation of dependencies from git repositories that do not support go get

  • Time based "cache" to increase speed

  • Handles Multi-Part $GOPATH


Run depman in the directory with your deps.json, or use the --path argument to specify the directory where deps.json is located.


  • init Create an empty deps.json

  • add Add a dependency (interactive)

  • install Install all the dependencies listed in deps.json (default)

  • update [nickname] [branch] Update [nickname] to use the latest commit in [branch]

  • show-frozen Show dependencies as resolved to commit IDs. Use the --recursive flag to descend into dependencies depth-first.

  • help Display help message


  • -clean=false: Remove changes to code in dependencies

  • -clear-cache=false: Delete the time based cache

  • -debug=false: Display debug messages. Implies --verbose

  • -help=false: Display help

  • -no-colors=false: Disable colors

  • -path=".": Directory or full path to deps.json

  • -silent=false: Don't display normal output. Overrides --debug and --verbose

  • -skip-cache=false: Skip the time based cache for this run only

  • -verbose=false: Display commands as they are run, and other informative


  • -version=false: Display version number

Basic Algorithm

For each dependency:

  1. Use go get to download the dependency

  2. Checkout the specified version

  3. Look in the dependency's directory for a deps.json and recursively install those dependencies

  4. If the dependency type is git-clone then manually run git clone, git fetch, etc as needed


Duplicated dependencies (anywhere in the tree) with identical versions will be skipped (this just saves some time and prevents infinite recursion). Duplicated dependencies with different versions cause a fatal error and must be fixed by the developer.

Non Go-Getable Repos

Some repositories (private bitbucket repositories for example), are not supported by go get. To include those repositories in depman:

  1. Change the type to git-clone (hg and bzr are not yet supported)

  2. Change the repo to a full git url (include everything necessary for git clone)

  3. Add an alias field to specify a directory in which to clone, the path is rooted at $GOPATH/src/

See the example below or the included deps.json file.

Multi-Part $GOPATH Support

Depman since version 2.8.0 supports multi-part $GOPATH. When installing dependencies, depman will search the parts of $GOPATH for the appropriate directory, if not found, depman will install the dependency to the first part of $GOPATH.


Depman uses a time based cache to speed up normal operations.

A global list of dependencies and timestamps is kept at $GOPATH/.depman.cache. When depman is run it looks at the timestamp to decide whether to update the repo or not (go get -u, git clone, git fetch, etc).

If the dependency is more that 1 hour old, depman will fetch updates from the network, otherwise depman uses the repo as is.

If the cache was stale or unused, a '*' will be printed at the end of the installation line.

You can clear the cache by deleting the cache file, or running depman with the --clear-cache flag. The cache can be skipped for the current run by using the --skip-cache flag.

Additional information about the cache (including the time spent while installing) can been seen by running depman with the --verbose flag.

The code for this feature is in the timelock package.

Implementation Requirements

  • Depman shall not require any external dependencies (beyond the standard library) for normal operation

  • Testing dependencies shall be installed through depman

  • go vet shall not indicate any problems

  • golint ( shall not indicate any problems


Depman can be tested by running make in the source directory.

This does the following:

  1. Installs depman

  2. Installs testing dependencies

  3. Runs depman with a few common flags to confirm basic operation

  4. Run go vet, and golint

  5. Executes the unit tests

  6. Generate

See Makefile for more information.

JSON Structure

NOTE: The file must be named deps.json

        "repo":"url/to/package, just like in import",
        "version":"commit, tag, or branch",
        "type": "one of 'git', 'bzr', 'hg'"
        "skip-cache":"optional, set to 'true' to always ignore the cache"
    "not go getable":{
        "repo":"full git repo url, just like git clone"
        "version":"commit, tag, or branch",
        "type": "must be 'git-clone'",
        "alias": "target directory to clone into, (only supported for type 'git-clone')"


    "gocheck": {
        "repo": "",
        "version": "87",
        "type": "bzr"
    "gocov": {
        "repo": "",
        "version": "93371a7ae85bec1c4afe9b9f3281c062ab106e6d",
        "type": "git",
        "skip-cache": true
    "gocov-html": {
        "repo": "",
        "version": "1512341d22ab06788fc5ad63925fd07979a9ef39",
        "type": "git-clone",
        "alias": ""
    "godocdown": {
        "repo": "",
        "version": "0bfa0490548148882a54c15fbc52a621a9f50cbe",
        "type": "git"
    "golint": {
        "repo": "",
        "version": "7e9cdc93310598b5c6cd9ce4d0d0a37c0f5b9e4c",
        "type": "git"


  • Support manually cloning hg or bzr repositories (add types hg-clone, and bzr-clone)
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